Saturday, February 23, 2008

Seriously, Happy Valentine's Day, whiners

It's a little late now, but I posted this blog one year ago, and I wasn't going to re-post this Valentine's Day because I'd already had my rant. But I must. Perhaps I have a lot of bitter friends (friends I love, but are wrong, nonetheless), but I've been reading a LOT about the horror of Valentine's Day on others' blogs. I love Valentine's Day. With or without presents (which are not necessary, nor is having a significant other this day; trust me, it shouldn't be a big deal), it's a day to be happy that somebody loves you. And someone does.

Even more than that, its history is amazing. If you haven't read the story, you should - it has everything; a self-absorbed king who outlaws Christianity, secret marriages, an unexpected romance, a miracle, a decapitation, a note from the beyond.

Something else to think about: you may be a descendent of one of the couples he married when he wasn't supposed to - you may not have existed without him!!

So here's my Valentines day message: suck it up, ignore the "Valentine's day was created by the greeting card industry" crap, and realize that people love you, and that's exciting - even if you don't get chocolate today.

The Story of St. Valentine

In 270 A.D., marriage had been outlawed by the emperor of Rome, Claudius II. Claudius issued this decree because he thought that married men made bad soldiers since they were reluctant to be torn away from their families in the case of war. Claudius had also outlawed Christianity in this time period because he wished to be praised as the one supreme god, the Emperor of Rome. Valentine was the bishop of Interamna during this period of oppression.

Valentine thought that the decrees of Rome were wrong. He believed that people should be free to love God and to marry. Valentine invited the young couples of the area to come to him. When they came, Valentine secretly performed services of matrimony and united the couples.

Valentine was eventually caught and was brought before the emperor. The emperor saw that Valentine had conviction and drive that was unsurpassed among his men. Claudius tried and tried to persuade Valentine to leave Christianity, serve the Roman empire and the Roman gods. In exchange, Claudius would pardon him and make him one of his allies. St. Valentine held to his faith and did not renounce Christ.

Because of this, the emperor sentenced him to a three-part execution. First, Valentine would be beaten, then stoned, and then finally, decapitated. Valentine died on February 14th, 270 A.D.

While in prison, waiting for his sentence to be carried out, Valentine fell in love with the jailer's daughter, the blind Asterius. During the course of Valentine's prison stay, a miracle occurred and Asterius regained her sight. Valentine sent her a final farewell note. He signed his last note, "From Your Valentine." Even today, this message remains as the motto for our Valentine's Day celebrations.